OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - It's back to school for many East Alabama families, and first grade students at Opelika's Carver Primary started their year off with brand new classrooms, equipped with state-of-the-art interactive touch panels.
It certainly was a day of firsts for first graders at Carver Primary and their teachers. They were welcomed back into a newly-constructed first grade wing that includes 10 classrooms with high tech, clear touch Interactive panels.
First graders inside Morgan Hilyer's classroom were engaged and excited. Their hands high in the air as they answered questions and hoped for an opportunity to show what they know on their brand new Clear Touch Interactive Panels.
"Our clear touch boards are great for kids, we have spent the morning learning how to use it. This is brand new technology for us," Hilyer said.
"They use the touch screens at home and this just brings the technology into the classrooms, it's just awesome for them," Angela Karabasz-Smith, an Opelika teacher, said.
Opelika school leaders say the Clear Touch Panels are an evolution of smart boards. System wide, Opelika utilizes 16 panels at the high school, middle school and elementary levels.
The panels cost $4,000 to $6,000 each and Opelika school leaders say the feedback has been phenomenal from their pilot programs.
Teachers say the panels are easy to use and maintain. They can raise them or lower them for students to have easy access.
Several students can write on the panels, with their fingers, at the same time. Plus, with stunning audio and visual capabilities, and state of the art software students are immersed in a unique, high tech and completely interactive learning environment.
"We know kids when they come into school they have a lot of experience with touch screens, iPhones, Android phones. At school, we want to continue that learning and make sure they have additional exposure and utilize to make them good learners," Carver Primary Principal Joe Ross said.
These panels are a long way from the blackboards, dry erase boards and even the smart boards most of us have used in our classrooms.
This is the first year Opelika has used them at the primary level, they say the first day went great.
Despite the high tech gadgets being used in the classroom, experts say the best thing you can do to help your kids succeed in school is simple - just open up a book and read with them.